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A. S. Hamrah: “Many documentaries that look interesting nonetheless seem skippable to me when they’re playing in theaters. The ones I want to see I tell myself I’ll catch up with at home. I almost never do. It’s enough for me to know there’s a documentary out there about weird fungi or Creem magazine or any number of other things. I know I could see these movies if I wanted to, were I seized with the desire to observe, from my couch, beekeeping in Macedonia, Russian computer hacking, or Myanmar’s most prominent fascist Buddhist priest. Documentaries like that have replaced books and magazines for a lot of people. Many of their subjects would be better read about than seen. Documentaries can only cram in so much between the clever opening and end credits and the other animated sections that replace scenes the filmmakers either couldn’t shoot themselves or couldn’t find any archival material on. Sometimes when I’m watching documentaries like that, I fast-forward them at 2x and turn on the subtitles. While speed-reading and speed-watching, I often think: this would be interesting to read more about. I’m like Hollywood in reverse. I want those movies turned into magazine articles, maybe even books. Of course, the best documentaries go beyond all that and exist in the realms of the visionary or the minutely detailed and exhaustive, where both intense concentration and a kind of dream state are necessary and rewarded…”

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